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Dinesh Karthik: Spirit of Cricket is a grey area



Bowlers should be allowed to run out a non-striker if they are found wandering outside the crease without being subjected to criticism and the ‘spirit of cricket’ debate. These are the thoughts of Dinesh Karthik, the Kolkata Knight Riders captain, who wants the rules to be “watertight and either black or white”.

“I think every time a batsman crosses [the line before the ball is delivered], the bowler should be allowed to create a run out,” Karthik told Cricketnext. “I don’t think there is any spirit of cricket question that is there in that. Because I feel if a batsman nicks a ball and he doesn’t walk, where is the spirit then?

“I think you need to be fair. You should take it out of the bowler’s hand and the umpire’s hand. It is either out or not out, that’s all. There is no question of asking the captain, asking the referee and those kinds of things. I think a batsman at the point of delivery should definitely stay within the crease. It’s as simple as that.

“If the batsman goes out, then the bowler can dislodge the bails and there should be no question about that. Because that means every time the batsman does that, and people feel the bowler – by creating a run out is cheating – then every time a batsman taking two metres is cheating again. So why does nobody complain about the batsman backing up? That’s always been my view.”

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Karthik’s reaction comes at a time when the cricket world has sharply reacted to Ricky Ponting’s views on the matter. On The Grade Cricketer podcast last week, Ponting, the head coach of Delhi Capitals, had spoken about having a “hard conversation” with senior offspinner R Ashwin about running out batsmen backing up at the bowler’s end. He said, “That’s not going to be the way that we play our cricket”.

While the dismissal itself is well within the laws, the MCC had called it against the spirit of cricket. Karthik, for one, believes it is unfair to judge bowlers who effect such dismissals.

“Rules need to be watertight and there is no question of… it’s either black or white, it’s as simple as that,” he said. “There should be no grey areas for people to use a loophole and find out. Spirit of cricket I feel is a massive grey area that people tend to use whenever they’re not comfortable with something that they’re doing.

“Then they get a little too personal, they get into the player’s personality, start judging people on what they’ve done. I think that’s a bit unfair. I think the rules need to be very clear. It should be out or not out. If it’s out or not out, the bowler and the fielding team have the ability to do it every time. As simple as that. If the rule applies to the bowling team, I’m sure when they start to bat the opponent can also do it. It needs to be very simple and clear.”

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